Archive for November, 2008


November 27, 2008


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Today is Thanksgiving Day.
I’m not going to be a guest at any dinners today. I’m rather glad that no invites have come my way. This is my only favorite of the holiday seasons. But today I need to sit alone and reflect.

I do not understand why things are. I cannot explain the goodness and the troubles. I just know that I have recieved so much good in the past year.

My sons built a roof over my mobile home. My bedroom was becoming an over flow from the leaking roof,but the new roof keeps the place dry. It was becoming worse and worse and now I enjoy standing out in the back watching the rain roll off of it.

I remember years ago when we first settled here. The only roof we had was a blue and yellow canvastarp. I remember when it would rain you had to scrunch up into a huddle to keep from being dampened-regardless of the tarp. I remember how the scent of my little boys sweaty heads would push its odor up my nose. I wish one of those moments were now.

Another blessing of this year-my sons gift of a new water well. Too many years have seen me struggle to keep the old one alive,the motors bearings had to have been almost square from the machine running all the time. The electric company has noticed a dramatic drop in my bill.

I like the way things come. Little hidden paths we never wondered down yet when we do,sometimes,we find these treasures. The wood stove in my photograph is one such treasure. I found it in an antique shop-but it is far from being an antique. It has taken me years to find the kind of deal this stove was it was an excellent deal…and brand new too.

I used to wake up early in the wee hours of the morning. I had to hike 7 miles to my nearest town to hitch-hike a ride to the city. There in the city I worked all day and did the same routine on my return home-there I’d eat a meal and pass out asleep waiting to do it again the next day. Along those walks I would pray that my sons would never have to live the way were then-that their lives would be better than the way it was now. I also prayed that I would never forget to respect that I lived like this. I never want to forget the times we sat under that tarp and fretted getting wet by the rain. I always want to remember that I built my home with lumber and  goods that I hitch-hiked home with. And above all-I want to be always thankful that my prayers were answered about my sons. Their lives are much better than what they had as boys.

The wood stove represents an item that has been many years on my wish list. I found one once at a flea market-but in my extreme hurried nature when dealing with others, I failed to notice the split in the bottom. I’m glad I only paid 30 dollars for it. The stove I found recently-it is brand new.

The roof and the water well and the stove are all things we can take for granted. Some might look at my roof as a pathetic attempt at carpentry-there has been better construction,but this was built by two young men who have never built any thing more than a tree house. It is better than that which many others do not have. And the well. How blessed it is to be able to turn a knob and out comes water. Soon the wood stove will be set up to heat. The Florida winters call for such a unit-it is cold enough now that I wish the thing to be working,but I need a few more dollars yet to buy the flue.

Two weeks ago I received news that I have won my case regarding my rape while in military service. I’m told  things will be different. It is a odd place that I am in. I feel different-and I am thankful for the portion of freedom the knowledge gives me that I may be taken care of in my older years. I also feel a strange sense in how I feel because there are others that should be receiving this kind of freedom too. Some have suggested that I tear this old place down and have a new one put in place. I’m not sure if I can do that. There is too much history here.

Today I am going to spend the day fasting and in prayer. I need to meditate on all that is happening-and all that has happened. This day is one that makes sense-to be thankful.


November 24, 2008

wide load in mirror

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I have found myself having exhausting dreams recently. I guess some call them nightmares-but to be simple,I just call them dreams.
The dreams are about prisons. I think much of it has  to do with the season-this time of year tends to depress me because it reminds me of the past that I wish was not mine.

I also believe some of them are triggered by my recent notification of my PTSD being validated as connected to my time in barracks D. And that notification has made my thought process go wild in every direction from the impact of it all. I am in awe that the truth has been treated as the truth-justly,but yet the past still haunts me.

Last night I dreamed I was in this long corridor-it never ended as it curved around and there were row after row of box type spaces stacked one another above and below.

I also think the dream last night was triggered by Saturday. My son was here and we went to the city for lunch. The city is a university town and Saturday there was a football game. For those who know football know the Florida Gators draw quite a crowd. I don’t keep football in my head-so forgot until we got to town.

We ended up in a Wal Mart store. And the crixmix music was going on-I had not had that in my head so I forgot until we got inside. And then the isles -compressed into the isles….and the place was packed and where we went was all the way across the store. And then I have last nights nightmare dream abut rows of boxes-but these boxes had men in them,not gifts.

Our family had this Christmas sense. I don’t really understand it now,we never were church people. But I remember the tradition of what it was and how the fancy things came out and the crixmix tree was set up and that way we looked at it as kids-our eyes crossed,that way the lights blended in with all the other glittery things. All that and the other teases of that period of the year-the supposed goodness and joy.

My first season away from home that feeling we all had about that time of year was going on the ship as well and the was this melancholy about some of us-at least there was with me. There was turkey and dressings and special stuff on the Vulcan-but it wasn’t like at home.

I get this grip about me when I think the only thing I did was try to go home a surprise my family. I mis-calculated some things about the trip that my 18 year old mind had not thought about…that was snow. I was on on a Greyhound bus that was known as a liberty bus that ferried sailors and such to Washington DC. In better weather it possible to make an afternoon bus to DC and catch a wee morning one back to Norfolk-and be on time for roll call. The snow kept that from happening,but I had a liberty pass for that very weekend.

At the bus station I was able to make contact with the right person on ship and because I had the pass I was free to go.

This was the holiday season of 1969. I was a new seaman on the USS Vulcan-my first holiday away from home. I thought I could make a surprise. Our ship was divided into three groups-each group got a holiday home…my group was New Years Eve weekend. I thought I could run that liberty bus home and get to our house and run in and say Happy New Year and haul butt back to the bus and be back at ship-say hey,and catch the next bus back to finish the week end. Every body did that same route all the time-it just never snowed.

That is why I ended up in barracks D…that was my crime.

Sounds like a stupid story-surely no reason to be locked away. But it’s for real,that’s all I did.

I have been locked in barracks D for the rest of my life. What took place between my being missing at roll call-and the time my brother was sent to arrest me,I will never know. My brothers tormenting and rants on the return ride to the ship put fear in me and I never expected that day was going to be so vivid in my memory for the rest of my life.

The compression of the isles in Wal Mart and the mass of people I think compounded everything else. The dream I had last night scared me and I woke at 0300 and tried to shake it…and understand it too. But I don’t think I will ever understand.

There  has been these wide ranges of emotion thinking about my recent news-the truth has  become justice. I have been validated in that and it set off so much my heart. The things lost. The way my life might have gone,and not this way. The many missing things-those things have been wild in my mind. My father-he is gone now and never will I be able to show him the truth. So the seven sheets of paper that write out my being justified have ignited many emotions-and many hopes too late to happen.

I am exhausted from the dreams-they’ve been too current lately,not like they have been. It does seem so interesting to me how things can be to recieve the news of my truth coming to me during this season-is it this week it is Thanksgiving?

I am so glad in my heart to have a God who I love and who knows all of what happened and knows all of the truth and has taken care of me through all of the things and will take care of me still to come.

November 19, 2008

me on the USS Vulcan

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

When I enlisted in the US Navy the year was April 1969. I had to enlist under a deferred enlistment because I wasn’t yet 18.
Viet Nam was going furiously and it was not the choice of many to sign up in the military at that time.

My family was Navy way back to my great grandfather. My grandmother used to tell me neat stories about being on his ship as a girl-sailing to Miami Florida when it was as she described it-mud and boardwalks.

I remember photographs of my father in his Navy uniform. There used to be a famous enlistment poster of a sailor facing the ship he’s about to serve on-he’s wearing his dress blues. My fathers photograph made me feel like that poster did.

I would have like to have finished high school. The school that I attended last was named after Robert E. Peary. It was larger than any school I had seen-complete with an automotive shop,and greenhouses-even two football fields. It was a different era then. I did not finish high school-I decided to take take my chances in another level in life in the military.

I found boot camp was perfect change. We all wore the same blue uniform and there were no cliques-everyone was the same…a unit,uniform,in formation.

Like that famous enlistment poster I stood with my sea bag dressed in my dress blues and faced the USS Vulcan for the first time. I’m not capable to describe what she looked like to my eighteen year old eyes. The ship was like looking at a city all lit up. Lights ran the length of the ship and on every deck and towering high on the main mast. The entry for enlisted men led you up a ramp that doubled back into a long flight of stairs and put you on the quartermasters deck. That section of deck is highly polished and decorated with assorted honors to the ship. It is also where the master at arms shack is-the ships police station where I would be sitting in a few months.

I did not want to drop out of school. There were social conflicts at Peary High that pushed me in that direction and led me to the uniform life of the Navy. I was pleased at the attention the ships education officer gave me-he was pleased with results from testing he did with me. We discussed my future.

It would have been around this time we sailed for rendezvous with other ships-my first time out at sea. That experience is an instant love. The ship was under a different spell when under way then she was at port-it was a good feeling either way,but notably different as we sailed.

I loved to go after my work was done to stand at the very bow of the ship and look down as it cut through the mighty ocean. I could lay my body right into the thick steel and just watch with ease and with out fear of falling. The shape of the bow was almost perfect to fit my body in. When I tired of watching the ships cutting the seas I could turn and stare up at the majestic size of her. I never knew until years later I could have gone up to volunteer to hold the wheel and keep the course.

It is such a bitter sweet feeling thinking of my sons-one having 18 years in the Navy,the other just returning from training in the US Coast Guard-and the young man I raised has also made a budding career in the Navy. I encouraged that in them-they saw my grief,my oldest son attributes my grief as his desire to serve in a way to make it up to me.

This time of year always puts me in a place in my mind-a mood,sometimes of gloom. The crixmix holiday gedunk is beginning to sprout up in places reminding us of the goodness of Thanksgiving and the cheer of crixmix and the yahoo of the coming New Year. They all remind us of something-they always remind me of something.

This morning I woke up and as any morning my mind immediately focuses on that part of my life. It’s always a shuddering feeling to wake up and think back and think why. Most of the way I live is result of why-so thinking it is abrupt. This morning was no different and was more magnified by a reoccurring dream I have about being incarcerated in a prison of some kind. The prisons always vary in the kind of community it is-but always a prison. They remind me of barracks D.

I dreamt last night that the prison was like a maze of honeycomb stacked cells,and as I walked by them men’s heads would stick out like larvae of worms-just enough so that I could see them peeking. In barracks D at the end of the urinal trough where I was raped  was a hole in the wall and while I was being attacked there were men’s faces looking through that hole in the wall watching as I was being assaulted. Where more of the later assaults took place was a room on the second floor of the barracks-it was a dark room that once was a storage closet for sea bags that had deep shelves. The room was lit by a black and white TV and the shelves were deep enough men were laying in there. I get such a strong sense of barracks D from last nights dream. I became a part of a community there-it was told to me to…”get used to it” is what he said. He was the man that asked me why I had a bloody nose and piss all over me. I said I was raped-except then I described the act…I was too young to know what rape was.

To this day whenever I approach a place where there is more than a group of people standing I feel a deja vu of when I returned to the barracks building where barracks D was. We were in a compound of two buildings-it was obviously a place with limited freedom. I had no time to think about what to do next as I walked past all of the men in barracks D, and the men who assaulted me.

I was in barracks D for nothing. I had done nothing. A few days ago I received an envelope of papers from the Veterans Administration saying…and signed by a judge-there was ‘no wrongdoing’. Supposedly soon I will be receiving compensation for my disability because of those days that seem like just yesterday. I find that so hard to comprehend-I’ve lived so long out of the change can-poor. But more so the guilt comes to me-it hard for me to comprehend that I went to be a good man and did not fail except for in the eyes of others…but yet had to live the life of blame for something that I did not do. I enlisted to do what we were taught back then-to do our duty to honor our country. If I was supposed to get hurt-it was supposed to happen in a battle,not like it did.

I always struggled with my being treated at the VA Hospital. Being in the service only 7 months-and what I had always considered at being kicked out of the Navy…I never felt right being there. It is hard for me to face my friends that have done duty in Viet Nam knowing what they went through-some will never get what I am about to receive. But I have always stood in the line that was prepared to do the same thing-to go to the front.

I apologize for the uncheery report. I should be more postive because we have a group of survivors-unique and silent survivors have achieved a recognition that ‘military sexual trauma’ is a reality and in fact causes PTSD. We have been recognized.

I have had a sense of strength that has never been mine before-some kind of mystical freedom that I cannot describe because the feeling is so new. The many years I’ve lived with this as a permanent scar did I ever think that the words “no wrongdoing” would be spoken on my behalf. I think that is the most powerful reward of them all…no wrongdoing.

animal therapy and PTSD

November 16, 2008

Maximun…the five pound guard dog
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


Two weeks ago I was invited to attend a therapy session which involved horses. It was with a small group of other survivors-all male….by survivors, I mean survivors of sexual assault.
Out of respect to the others privacy…there is no more to be said.

It was a wonderful morning. The horses we were surrounded by are all specifically chosen as therapy animals…I believe we were the first group of PTSD clients the horses had met-they did not seem to notice,the typical client would be those with physical handicaps. Some do not realize-PTSD is also a physical handicap.
Let me say this-the session was thrilling. We were asked to select our horse-then we were placed in the stall with them…one fellow had never been as close to horses as we were that day.
We were instructed how to touch the animal-how to pet it and hug it,if we so desired.
It was an uplifting experience.

This past week I was allowed to visit Charlotte-my former therapist at the Gainesville VA. We met to discuss my recent advance in my claim for service connected PTSD…the advance being that I succeeded in showing my former time in the U.S.Navy was with a good record,no wrongdoing-and that the officials agree that I was sexually assaulted-thus,my case was won. I am now considered service connected with PTSD.

As I brought Charlotte up to date with all that has happened in the past 15 months since the VA separated us-I mentioned the horse therapy.
We also talked about what was ahead for me-my challenge to change the way other veterans/survivors of ‘military sexual trauma’ will be treated in the years to come. I will continue my fight for a change. I also mentioned I would like to take some college courses-but my fear of buildings may prohibit that desire.
I mentioned that this was a dream that was instilled while I was in the Navy and that I’d love to fulfill that once upon a time ago dream. My thought was that perhaps I could be placed with a companion to help me through the series of classes I might take.
Charlotte told me about ‘service dogs’ that were being trained specifically for PTSD sufferers…service dogs such as those the blind are placed with.
I was thrilled with the idea and after returning home I did a search for the organization that does this work-and called to inquire about the program.

The person I spoke to told me that at this point the dogs were trained and provided to veterans of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan…but promised me she would look through her wealth of resources to find a dog for me.

I learned the dogs are trained by convicts.
What a wonderful thing that must be for those incarcerated-the pleasure of a dog can take away any kind of ugly. Prison is ugly. I also learned that prisoners train the seeing eye dogs. I felt this connection was spiritually sent-the message to me of “yes-this is the direction to go in”. My rapes and mental damage occurred while I was incarcerated in a Navy detention barrack….as the Navy has pointed out-I had done nothing wrong,but wrong was done to me.

My plans now included stepping up my wants for change in how sexually assaulted veterans are treated upon release from military duty and sent into the Veterans Administration.
I have plans on meeting with Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite to discuss these needs….I intend to learn more about these service dogs to include them in my challenge to the Veterans Administration-and will request that the Congresswoman also help me facilitate these changes.

I have two dogs. Teensie tiny little things. They are a joy whenever joy is missing-and great pals in between. I cam easily see the aid a service dog could give to a former soldier-or any person with the disability of PTSD. They want nothing but love-and through that love abond can grow confidence in ones self. Believe it as it is so-a dog is a creature of goodness to those whose accept the friendship they offer. I’ve even read that merely petting a dog can reduce high blood pressure. The little ones that share my home even sense my days of being down-they work hard to keep me happy,snuggleing in the bed with me…sometimes being pests-but the truth is,they read our personalities and emotions and feel them too.
I believe in the program to help others through trained creatures.

I will be in touch with the service dog program more as the weeks come-and am going to advocate for this program even before I ever (if ever) recieve a dog of my own…I believe in its theraputic method,I know this is an excellent idea.
As I learn more-I will write about it.

I will say-if you are a veteran of these wars-Iraq and Afganistan…contact the program at 212-680-9562

no wrongdoing…

November 10, 2008


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

How can I begin?
I have longed for 38 (almost 39) years for those words to be spoken on my behalf regarding my military service in the United States Navy.
No wrongdoing.
I can’t begin to explain the feeling those words give me.
The copy of the page they are written on is attached to this that I write this morning.
That page is the last page of 7 signed by the Veterans Law Judge; my life compressed into 7 typewritten pages…those pages telling that my story is true.
Those pages telling me that I AM a Veteran. That has always been important to me.

I wished my father could see-he passed away last December, so only in spirit can he know.

I wish I could make sense it all. Here I was wanting to do my part, to do my duty and serve my country…and to please my Dad.

There has always been a missing chunk of this story-my story. The whole damned thing sounds so unreal it is hard for even me to comprehend. I’ve seen my neighbor commit suicide when  just a boy. I saw my own brother die under the wheels of a car, he was just a boy. And the details of my life in the Navy. It’s just so much to try to comprehend.

So I’ve kept part of this to myself because it’s almost to crazy to believe.

I wanted to prove myself to my father. I can’t figure what all of it means. In the Bible there is this family of brothers and one of them has dreams and tells his father about the dreams. The other brothers become jealous and end hating the dreamer. So they come up with this idea to sell the brother as a slave and tell the father he was killed by a lion. It turns out-the dreamer…now a slave,ends up being a very wise man and the king that had him as a slave put him in a high position. The position he was in turned out to be one of great power-and one day his family of brothers came from far far away-as the dreamer had been carried a far distance to become this slave,and the brothers begged the dreamer to help them-not knowing the boy they sold as a slave had grown to be this powerful man. And he helps them.

This story to use to try to explain how twisted lives get because of jealousy-or hatred. And how the lives turn out?

I thought when I was asked in U.S.Navy boot camp if I had a family member I desired to be stationed with that my own brother would be thrilled to have me along. I had no idea what the jealousy was going to be like-nor the hatred. It took me years to realize that was what it was.

When I boarded the USS Vulcan as a fresh boot ready to train on this huge ship I was about to embark I believed right then this was the greatest life. To be living on this ship and sail the sea-I was in love.

The first task of coming aboard is to be toured around-meeting the payroll officer and finding the post office and galley. Part of it was where to be assigned, and the final was to be tested by the ships education officer. My tests were done well enough I was offered an opportunity to re-enlist for a longer term and they were going to send me to college-and I’d come back as an officer. My brother scoffed that idea the moment I told him. I thought it was the greatest news-but he turned it into the worse response and beat me down with it. I continued to carry the dream.

My brother did everything he could to make my life on ship-shit! He had control of the laundry and mutilated my work shirts to where I was restricted to certain parts of the ship-otherwise, I was out of uniform. The misconception the military gives us those uniforms is wrong so I couldn’t afford new work shirts. I couldn’t enter the education officers area.

When I was free of my brother I had an awesome time. I had friends. When we sailed to Cuba and then on to Jamaica-my friends and I had the best of times. I enjoyed the Navy and all the way up to the day my brother was sent to arrest me I had believed this was going to be my life-to live on these great ships…perhaps even command one.

I can not explain the twist in my story any more I can about the life of the dreamer I told you about. Why things happen in such a strange way? I cannot explain. I lived all of these 38 plus years in a world of pain-mental pain enhanced because it had to be kept inside. When my brother was sent to ‘arrest’ me I had done nothing wrong. I was surprised to learn that I was accused of drug abuse. I was at our parents house when my brother was sent. It had snowed and I was stuck there-so it was just a dumb case of AWOL that had an okay anyway (I was excused by a telephone call to the ship earlier)…but something had happened in the few hours I was gone. I will never know what it was.

I was taken to barrack D…detention barrack D. It was there the worse of this began-I was beaten up and raped. Over 38 years ago…and it seems like just a moment ago. It has been like that for longer than 38 years-everyday. Like I said-mental pain.

Like that dreamer-a boy sold by his brothers…gone and the distance and never to be seen again, until years later. How is it that to me justice comes now? How is it that I have to spend 38 years of guilt that I did wrong-and then be told there was no wrongdoing?

My faith in God has always kept me-more so…amazed me. I never let go of that God loves me-and that all of this…every inch of my life-God has known this, and for this time we were the only two that knew I was the one with the truth. My Dad has died not seeing the words “no wrongdoing”, and that makes it hard still-wronged even still.

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. It is separate from Memorial Day-for it is a day to salute our living Veterans and pay homage to their sacrifice to the United States. I feel a strange sense of belonging now. I’ve re-read these 7 pages over and over since they arrived last week. It is these words on the last page that Judge has signed-“no wrongdoing” that will at least help me stand among our Veterans proudly.

jumping the gun!

November 7, 2008

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


Yesterday I wrote about ‘patience’….it seems I could have exercised more. If I could have waited one more day.

I actually find myself with out the words. I am in awe of the news that came yesterday at noon. I awoke this morning feeling different for once, so much can change in a moment.

The news that came told me that I am an injured veteran,injured during active duty-and that the Veterans Administration agrees that I was wronged 38 years ago…they agree with the facts and admit that I was raped in barrack D.

There is so much missing. The years…and my father. I will never have them the way I would have liked.

The energy in me is depleted. Yesterdays news had me on an high that had me completely exhausted by the time I fell in to bed. I woke this morning trying to think of what happened, and then I remembered the envelope that came from the Veterans Administration in Washington DC. The envelope contained the decision that had been hoped for since a year ago today. I have been given the truth in a just way.

It hasn’t sunk in all the way. I still feel the high that I felt yesterday as the news grew on me. I had to read the papers several times over to fully comprehend. The most important part-I feel like a legitimate veteran now…it has been officially agreed  that I am.

What this means is now we can go into a new direction. The decision by the VA Judge opens the door for others. We all have been given something by the letter in my mail. By ‘all’…I mean every survivor of MST (military sexual trauma).

This is good news for each of the silent wounded-that we can hold the military accountable for this violation of a persons rights and body.

I wrote yesterday about patience. Patience is easy to practice when it is waiting for something that you have never had. Patience is more valid when you use it to wait and trust in something for a long long time-when you believe in yourself, and you know the truth-and know the truth is always,and cannot change,then you will be rewarded by faith in the end.

I’ve always known the truth about my life. I’ve always known the truth about what happened. I did not know that the truth would prevail 38 years later-I just knew it was so. I’ve woken up everyday with the memory of barrack D for 38 years with shame and guilt in my soul. This morning I feel different-almost as if I’m somebody else.

I am unable to find words as this moment has me so emotional just thinking of what has happened. It is so long over due, why that had to be I am not sure….why any of it had to be, I have no answer.


today,and a year ago tomorrow and in between

November 6, 2008

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


I wish that I could write today about hope. I wish even more that I could write about the changes that are going to come. The only thing I can say is-patience.

I received a call last Friday from the Secretary of Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite. I know the call was sincere-she called from an airport…I could hear the noise in the back ground.

My meeting with Brown-Waite was postponed. I was even curious myself about the original date…today! After all, it is two days from the national elections. It was explained to me to be scheduling conflicts. Well, I suppose running for re-election is a scheduling conflict, and one I accept, especially since she was re-elected.

I was asked by the Secretary if I had contacted any other Congresspersons from our area. I told her I’ve been contacting representatives from Congress and the Department of Defense and who ever else would hear me for the last three years…and the Congresswoman is the only response that has come with an invitation. That invitation was to arrange a meeting-and we are going to meet.

Patience. Patience is hard to endure sometimes.

I would like to have written by now that there is hope in promises that people might hear your story and realize you have been wronged-and deserve validation. I wanted to share this hope with others-specifically other military veterans who may also be survivors and sufferers in silence. The hope would have been that there is a line of justice out there-you can be heard and responded to. That has not happened yet-I cannot write about it and  change the direction of what I write about in the future. Tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of my hearing with a Veterans Administration judge. I would to like have written more about that, but there is nothing to write-unless you want to know that nothing has happened. No one has contacted me and said yes or no. It bothers me-because it is something I never had for all of these years. It bothers me because for 37 years it was kept within and regarded with nothing,no attention at all-in my silence. There was nothing to wait for…what it is was already there, and now it is topped with the need for patience.

I’m not even sure why this is. I do not know why it happened. I know how it happened. I just don’t know why it happened to me. It seems like much of my life has been a car wreck, but the experience I had in barrack D has lasted like a permanent injury.

I don’t know how to explain any of it. I was asked once what the difference was for me being a male rape survivor from a females experience. I don’t even know how to explain that-I only know my experience and have not not been able to understand others any more than I do my own. I do know-it has never left me.

I had hoped that tomorrow I would be writing something else. I could have told you that my visit with the Congresswoman was a positive meeting. I wanted to say she heard us…the silent wounded-and that we can see some hope in the way we are treated as veterans. I wanted to write that we will see a change in who hears our story and how they respond. I wanted to explain how our civil rights are being violated-and so because we have been violated. But,I must be patient.

I do believe the Congresswoman’s Secretary will contact me again. I do believe there will be a meeting. I believe what I am have been talking about in these pages is being heard-not only from me, but also by facts that can’t go away. The knowledge that MST (military sexual trauma) survivors are in numbers up in the thousands cannot go away-it can only get larger, and stronger if we continue to come forward and demand that they deal with it.

Little did I know as a teenager at 18 what life was going to dole out next. I stood in a great crowd of men at Fort Hollibird in Baltimore Maryland and took my oath to do my duty to serve my country. The Viet Nam war was in its peak at that time-at least in the knowledge of it and how it reached our youth. Many rebelled and many transferred their citizenship to Canada to flee the war. I stood in a great crowd of men that were all standing up for their country and were heading all branches of military service. The way I was raised and the era that I grew up in-we were taught to honor flag and country. That’s what I was doing. I have to be one of the few guys in life that actually enjoyed ‘boot camp’. I had tried to join the Marines. After boot camp I returned to the Marine recruiter and thanked him for his advice….”you’re too skinny to be a Marine”….”go try the Navy”!! I did not know that one day I’d be writing this.

My career in the Navy was less than a year long. My memory has been all that I ever know. Every day I wake up and what happened is still there. I can’t ever seem to remember a day that began with out my remembering. The details are so so vivid even yet.

I lived all the years since with a guilt and shame that was miserable. I battled self destruction-and ‘damage control’…where I would go out and seek the harmful contact of others. I drank and still skirt alcoholism. I abused drugs of all description. I abused myself. I felt that I failed and lived like I had. The list gets longer from here.

In all the times I battled drugs-I confessed to the Veterans Hospital that I was depressed. The answer they had was in the form of a pill…it was like a drug-it made me feel high. It really troubled me-my fighting to keep from being a drunk and illicit drugs was not easy, and the answer to a question that identified the need for help was given in drugs. I became angry about that and instead of keeping quiet I spoke out. Many times I wish I kept it to myself.

As you can tell by my writing that this is not something easily explained. It is so complicated because of how I know it and it has affected my adult life. It is complex in how detailed it is in m mind. Because…it is my life.

What I couldn’t explain about the difference between being a male rape survivor is that what the entire scope of things did in my life-how it has lived itself a lie in parts of my family, how it restricted my everyday existence because of fear and anxiety. I couldn’t explain why I couldn’t hold a job. For all the years that no one was interested-that no one knew, I couldn’t explain. I cannot explain why it hurt and deepened an old wound by hearing comments that assume I might be homosexual because men raped me-and the hurt worsened when jokes were made of the color of pen I was using to mark pages of a statement I wrote. The jokes alluded to my assumed homosexuality and they came from a man who is supposed to be my advocate towards final justice in that I was a rape victim.

I don’t know why this is. I was sent by a trusted person to give my account about barrack D to a Veterans Affairs advocate. This man was to take my information and walk me through the process of justice. Justice now 38 years over due. It was this advocate who made me afraid because of his ignorant bigotry. It was his comments that made me want to bring as much attention to this as I possibly could. And now it is the reason why I write about it here.

I had no voice before. The only thing I knew that I could do to reach others was to set up a computer and try to reach others via this electric wonder.

We that have survived MST deserve a voice. We deserve a lot more…and through this channel I hope to raise awareness and interest and support towards change as how we are shown the path towards our justice-to get what belongs to us…help!

I wish I could say more today. I think more is coming…so we must be patient.